In 2009, India became the number one ranked team in Test cricket, 77 years after they played their first match, in 1932. The India team's journey to the top is best told through their greatest games -- the epic victories in the West Indies and England in the 1970s, the thrilling tied Test of 1986 and the immortalised Eden Gardens Test of 2001.
From Mumbai to Durban: India's Greatest Tests by S Giridhar and VJ Raghunath is the story of 28 of India's greatest Tests -- a great compilation, which will make you fall in love with the beauty of Test cricket all over again. From the tough years of the 1970s to world conquerors in the noughties, from the days of hope in the 1960s to the depths of despair in the 1990s, the Test matches in the book represent India cricket's finest moments.
In a cricket crazy country, the book is an invaluable addition to cricket's library and is a must-read for fans of all ages.
The book researched with such meticulousness by Giridhar and Raghunath, that the sheer hard work put into the book will make batting maestros Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid proud.
However, you will be surprised to know that the Tests selected in the book celebrate not just great victories, but also hard-fought games that demonstrated courage and a never-say-die spirit. It has heroic fourth-innings efforts which were testimony to both character and skill, and matches in which India failed to live up to the expectations of the fans. The selection of Tests therefore includes nail-biting draws, a memorable tied test as well as a game lost after a brave show.
From Mumbai to Durban: India's Greatest Tests begins with the drawn fifth Test against West Indies in Mumbai in February 1949. For the first time in India's cricket history, the team almost pulled off a victory, after 17 years. Chasing 361 to win, India had reached 355 for eight. History was one blow away, off the bat of Dattu Phadkar, when umpires ended the game with two minutes still remaining.
Team India had to wait for three more years before they won their first Test in 1952, against England. It was the fifth Test of the England tour of India and played in Chennai. The home side won by an innings and eight runs.
You will love reading about some brilliant cricketers, who represented India in the following six decades and the narrative will bring alive the game to the readers with such a unique warmth that you will go back again and again to your favorite passages.
The 'survey' concludes with the Durban Test of 2010 against South Africa – the second of a three match series. India won the match by 87 runs. The series ended in a 1-1 draw, but the Durban Test helped India rise to No.1 in the world in the ICC Test rankings.
The ranking showed how the India team had transformed from a poor side away from home to a formidable one in all conditions in a decade. From 1932 to 2000, India had won only 11 Tests out of 150 games played overseas. But in the years 2001-2010, India won 22 Tests of the 62 they played abroad, and registered a victory in every Test-playing nation.
From Mumbai to Durban: India's Greatest also comes at a time when India's Test team, under Virat Kohli, has regained the top spot and shown great promise. Kohli's team is proving to be invincible at home and has the potential to win regularly overseas.
The recent Test series against England, which India won 4-0, was Kohli's fifth successive Test series win. The ambitious young captain will now be aiming for a series win in Australia and South Africa, something which Team India has not achieved yet. And this book, from the hearts of two cricket romantics, will certainly inspire the team to create history in the next tour to South Africa, especially Durban, in January 2018.